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In the modern business landscape, a company’s fundamental purpose—its reason for being beyond profit—has become a pivotal cornerstone. With profits no longer being the sole defining factor of success, especially for Gen Z and Millennials, aligning with organisations that reflect their values has become paramount.

“COVID opened our eyes to how quickly things can change. The shift has been towards purpose.”- Robbie Blake, Senior Consultant

A recent YouGov survey commissioned by Veolia unveiled a disconcerting trend: a potential exodus of half the workforce from companies that don’t authentically establish their purpose. This underlines the urgency for businesses to resonate deeply with their workforce’s values.

“Purpose clarity isn’t a luxury—it’s a mandate for businesses aspiring to resonate with the workforce of today.” – Sam Ingram, CEO

Moreover, the merits of a purpose-driven model aren’t limited to talent retention. As highlighted by a Gallup study, organisations that cultivate dual engagement—both from employees and customers—experience a staggering 240% boost in performance outcomes.

“A whopping 80% of UK employees expressed willingness to go above and beyond for an organisation that echoes their values.” – Sam Ingram, CEO

In our latest episode of Coffee Mornings, we delve deeper into the transformative power of purpose, the pitfalls of an ambiguous mission, and pragmatic strategies to infuse purpose holistically into your corporate fabric.

Sam’s candid reflection encapsulates a pivotal moment of self-awareness and transformation for Northreach. As he acknowledges, there was a time when the focus was solely on the bottom line—achieving billings without embracing innovation or change. However, this introspective evaluation led to a significant shift in perspective. The realisation dawned that the essence of a purpose-led organisation extends beyond the transactional realm of job placements. It encompasses a commitment to offering holistic opportunities and crafting a transformative journey for both employees and clients. This poignant shift in mindset heralded the birth of Northreach’s evolution from a purely functional enterprise to an entity dedicated to creating meaningful, enduring impact.

“We didn’t innovate, didn’t change; it was just about billings. But we learned from that experience. We need to go beyond just job placement. It’s about providing opportunities and creating a journey.” – Sam Ingram, CEO

Or listen to it on Spotify :

If reading is more your style than auditory learning, this blog is tailored for you. We explore the intricate ‘Purpose Gap’, providing a comprehensive exploration. Join us as we dissect the insightful conversation between Sam and Robbie from the episode, ensuring you stay abreast of every revelation.

The generational divide

Our previous episodes, including the notable Gen Z coffee mornings, have spotlighted the distinct motivators that fuel different generational cohorts in the workplace. For the contemporary workforce, notably Gen Z and Millennials, the magnetic pull is towards entities driven by purpose. Such purpose clarity isn’t a luxury—it’s a mandate for businesses aspiring to resonate with the workforce of today.

Drawing from the YouGov survey, we observed a pronounced inclination among Gen Z and Millennials, the tech-savvy entrants of the professional sphere, towards purpose-rich companies—a sentiment not as prominent among their older counterparts.

“People need more than a paycheck. Millennials and Gen Z crave purpose.” – Sam Ingram, CEO

Gen Z and Millennials, the newest entrants into the professional realm, have been sculpted by a digital, information-rich era. Their expectations from employers, therefore, are a tad different. The YouGov survey spotlighted this disparity: 57% of these younger age groups would willingly leave a purpose-devoid company—a stark contrast to the 50% overall average.

The inclination towards purpose goes beyond job retention. Younger generations are also more inclined to make personal sacrifices for purpose-rich companies. A staggering 37% of Gen Z indicated willingness for a pay cut if it meant working for a purpose-aligned organisation.

“The bottom line? Younger employees prioritise purpose over pay checks. Their aspirations are tethered to meaningful work and a tangible positive societal impact.” – Robbie Blake, Senior Consultant

Robbie’s insights shed light on the nuanced decisions that individuals make when seeking purpose-driven organisations, particularly considering their age and seniority. He aptly points out that the significance of purpose varies based on these factors. For senior executives earning £100K or more, a minor pay cut to align with a purpose-driven organisation might not significantly impact their take-home pay. In fact, it could even be advantageous due to potential tax bracket adjustments. Such seasoned professionals often have the liberty to choose an opportunity they passionately believe in, transcending the confines of mere financial gains.

“For senior executives, a pay cut might not make a huge difference. It’s about choosing beliefs over necessity.” – Robbie Blake, Senior Consultant

In a contrasting view, Robbie underscores that for younger generations with fewer financial responsibilities, the priorities can diverge. Financial concerns might not take precedence, enabling them to opt for a purpose-driven company that offers lower compensation over a role in a financially rewarding yet unclear or less purpose-driven organisation. This decision calculus hinges on their life stage and personal priorities. Robbie’s insight accentuates that the degree to which purpose shapes one’s choices isn’t uniform—it’s a dynamic interplay of individual circumstances, values, and aspirations.

The power of purpose

As explored in Coffee Mornings Episode 12, the labyrinth of the corporate realm might be intricate, but the luminance of purpose shines undiminished. This defining ‘why’ of an organisation serves as a beacon, galvanising its workforce, fostering camaraderie, and augmenting productivity.

“A company’s purpose isn’t a static proclamation but a dynamic compass guiding its journey. And when employees resonate with this compass, their engagement and commitment levels soar.” – Sam Ingram, CEO

The tangible benefits of a purpose-led model are manifold. A whopping 80% of UK employees, as per the YouGov survey, expressed willingness to go above and beyond for an organisation that echoes their values. The ramifications? Enhanced performance, increased innovation, stellar customer service, and steadfast employee loyalty.

“Companies with a clear purpose are easier to sell to candidates. You want to work towards something.” – Robbie Blake, Senior Consultant

 The pay cut for purpose

One of the intriguing findings from the YouGov survey, discussed in depth during our episode, is the significant proportion of employees who prioritise purpose so highly that they’d consider a pay cut. This trend underscores the evolving priorities of the modern workforce, reflecting a shift towards value-driven engagements.

For businesses, this translates into a need for transparent communication about their purpose and ensuring its thorough integration into the organisation’s ethos. For employees, it’s a testament to the rising importance of value alignment in job satisfaction and overall contentment.

“People will make sacrifices for a purpose-led organisation. It’s about values and engagement.” – Sam Ingram, CEO

Sam’s observation succinctly underscores the profound impact of passion and purpose on individuals’ choices. In the realm of science, where specialised expertise often comes with the potential for higher earnings in alternate domains, it’s remarkable to witness how scientists remain resolute in their commitment to their field. The magnetic pull of their passion and the profound sense of purpose they derive from their work propel them forward, transcending the allure of potentially greater financial rewards in other arenas. This phenomenon beautifully exemplifies the transformative influence of purpose, steering individuals to prioritise intrinsic fulfillment over monetary gains.

“𝘐 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘴𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘴 𝘥𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘭𝘰𝘵. 𝘐 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘮𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘰𝘧𝘧 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮. 𝘉𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘵; 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘨𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺’𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘵. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘨𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘢 𝘉𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘰𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘔𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘨𝘰 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘥𝘰 𝘢 𝘗𝘩𝘋. 𝘚𝘰, 𝘺𝘰𝘶’𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 7-10 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦. 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘣𝘢𝘥, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘢𝘭; 𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘣𝘦 𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘰𝘳 𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦. 𝘚𝘰, 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘱𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘶𝘳𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵’𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘥𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮. 𝘚𝘢𝘺 𝘐𝘛 𝘥𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘤𝘢𝘯’𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘮𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘭 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘣𝘦𝘥. 𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘴 𝘥𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘢𝘮𝘦, 𝘐 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘴𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘶𝘯𝘭𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘳 𝘴𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵’𝘴 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮. “– 𝘚𝘢𝘮 𝘐𝘯𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘮, 𝘊𝘌𝘖

 Strategies for cultivating and communicating organisational purpose

As discussed in our episode, a company’s guiding light—its purpose—must be vivid, actionable, and omnipresent. Below are some strategies to ensure this purpose isn’t a mere declaration but is intertwined with every corporate fibre:

  1. Create a clear and inspiring vision: The purpose should be simple, deep in meaning, and inspiring. It should provide a clear vision of what the company stands for and where it’s headed. This vision should be communicated to all employees and stakeholders.
  2. Involve your people: Employees should be involved in the process of defining and communicating the company’s purpose. This can be done through workshops, surveys, or open discussions. When employees feel involved, they are more likely to buy into the purpose and work towards it.
  3. Live your values through action: Actions speak louder than words. The company’s actions should reflect its purpose at all times. This includes the decisions it makes, the initiatives it undertakes, and the way it treats its employees and customers.
  4. Integrate values into the employee lifecycle: From recruitment to retirement, the company’s purpose and values should be integrated into every stage of the employee lifecycle. This includes hiring people who align with the company’s purpose, incorporating the purpose into onboarding and training programs, and recognising and rewarding employees who embody the purpose.
  5. Regularly reiterate the purpose: The company’s purpose should be regularly communicated to employees. This can be done through company meetings, newsletters, internal communications, and everyday conversations. Regularly reiterating the purpose helps to keep it top of mind and reinforces its importance.

“The company’s purpose should be regularly communicated to employees. Regularly reiterating the purpose helps to keep it top of mind and reinforces its importance.” – Sam Ingram, CEO

  1. Tell a story: Stories are powerful tools for communication. They can help to make the company’s purpose more relatable and memorable. Share stories that illustrate the company’s purpose in action and the impact it has on customers, employees, and the community.
  2. Make employees the heroes: Empower employees to be the heroes in the company’s purpose story. Recognise and celebrate employees who embody the company’s purpose and make a positive impact.
  3. Cultivate open communication: Encourage open and honest communication within the organisation. This creates an environment where employees feel free to share their ideas, feedback, and concerns, which can help to strengthen the company’s purpose.

Remember, the purpose must be greater than just running a profit machine. It should reflect the company’s commitment to making a positive impact on its customers/clients, employees, community, and the world.


Reflecting on the rich insights from Coffee Mornings Episode 12:

  • A distinct company purpose transcends mere desirability; it stands as an imperative for business success.
  • Purpose must be communicated clearly to every member of the workforce and consistently reinforced through actions.
  • Purpose isn’t a checkbox item; it’s an ethos to be embraced and embodied daily.
  • It falls upon leaders to articulate and exemplify the purpose, paving the way for others to internalize it in their conduct.
  • In the contemporary landscape, the workforce places purpose above mere paychecks.
  • Embracing a purpose-driven model holds the potential to significantly amplify both productivity and employee engagement.
  • Companies are prompted to re-imagine their compensation strategies, placing emphasis on offerings that align with values.

“The journey towards a purpose-led organisation isn’t just about business—it’s about shaping a positive impact on individuals, society, and the world at large.” – Robbie Blake, Senior Consultant